|     printer icon  Printer-friendly version of this page

2019 California Rules of Court

Rule 2.540. Application and scope

(a) Applicability to government entities

The rules in this article provide for remote access to electronic records by government entities described in (b). The access allowed under these rules is in addition to any access these entities or authorized persons working for such entities may have under the rules in articles 2 and 3.

(b) Level of remote access

(1)A court may provide authorized persons from government entities with remote access to electronic records as follows:

(A)Office of the Attorney General: criminal electronic records and juvenile justice electronic records.

(B)California Department of Child Support Services: family electronic records, child welfare electronic records, and parentage electronic records.

(C)Office of a district attorney: criminal electronic records and juvenile justice electronic records.

(D)Office of a public defender: criminal electronic records and juvenile justice electronic records.

(E)Office of a county counsel: criminal electronic records, mental health electronic records, child welfare electronic records, and probate electronic records.

(F)Office of a city attorney: criminal electronic records, juvenile justice electronic records, and child welfare electronic records.

(G)County department of probation: criminal electronic records, juvenile justice electronic records, and child welfare electronic records.

(H)County sheriff's department: criminal electronic records and juvenile justice electronic records.

(I)Local police department: criminal electronic records and juvenile justice electronic records.

(J)Local child support agency: family electronic records, child welfare electronic records, and parentage electronic records.

(K)County child welfare agency: child welfare electronic records.

(L)County public guardian: criminal electronic records, mental health electronic records, and probate electronic records.

(M)County agency designated by the board of supervisors to provide conservatorship investigation under chapter 3 of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 5350-5372): criminal electronic records, mental health electronic records, and probate electronic records.

(N)Federally recognized Indian tribe (including any reservation, department, subdivision, or court of the tribe) with concurrent jurisdiction: child welfare electronic records, family electronic records, juvenile justice electronic records, and probate electronic records.

(O)For good cause, a court may grant remote access to electronic records in particular case types to government entities beyond those listed in (b)(1)(A)-(N). For purposes of this rule, "good cause" means that the government entity requires access to the electronic records in order to adequately perform its statutory duties or fulfill its responsibilities in litigation.

(P)All other remote access for government entities is governed by articles 2 and 3.

(2)Subject to (b)(1), the court may provide a government entity with the same level of remote access to electronic records as the government entity would be legally entitled to if a person working for the government entity were to appear at the courthouse to inspect court records in that case type. If a court record is confidential by law or sealed by court order and a person working for the government entity would not be legally entitled to inspect the court record at the courthouse, the court may not provide the government entity with remote access to the confidential or sealed electronic record.

(3)This rule applies only to electronic records. A government entity is not entitled under these rules to remote access to any documents, information, data, or other types of materials created or maintained by the courts that are not electronic records.

(c) Terms of remote access

(1)Government entities may remotely access electronic records only to perform official duties and for legitimate governmental purposes.

(2)Any distribution for sale of electronic records obtained remotely under the rules in this article is strictly prohibited.

(3)All laws governing confidentiality and disclosure of court records apply to electronic records obtained under this article.

(4)Government entities must comply with any other terms of remote access required by the court.

(5)Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the imposition of sanctions, including termination of access.

Rule 2.540 adopted effective January 1, 2019.

Advisory Committee Comment

The rule does not restrict courts to providing remote access only to local government entities in the same county in which the court is situated. For example, a court in one county could allow remote access to electronic records by a local child support agency in a different county.

Subdivision (b)(3). As to the applicability of the rules on remote access only to electronic records, see the advisory committee comment to rule 2.501.

[ Back to Top ]